International Writers Magazine: Review
Match by Jodi Picoult
Hodder- ISBN: 9780340897225
A Jen Ames Review
heaven breaks, who fixes it?" What makes this book by Jodi
Picoult, so powerful is the voice of five-year-old Nathaniel.
A heart-wrenching tale of a desperate mother struggling between
what is legally wrong, and morally right, and who makes
terrible mistakes in her efforts to take away all the pain thats
been forced on her beloved little boy.
The story is about
Nina Frost, an assistant district attorney; whos job is split
directly down the middle. On one hand shes trying to prosecute
paedophiles and rapists and protect children who have been tortured
and abused by strangers, and on the other shes trying to be the
best mother and wife as she can, and to protect her own family. Her
son Nathaniel is her world followed in close second by her husband Caleb.
The title of the book comes from an endearing scene where Nina is explaining
what its like to feel love for your children, where she explains
that when she goes to comfort him and they curl up together, its
like they were made to fit together, mother and son, an unbreakable
bond. However this bond is put to the test in the most terrible of circumstances,
when Nina learns that her own little boy has been the victim of rape.
In her line of work, she has seen so many traumatised kids crumble at
the court hearing and seen so many vile rapists walk free, that she
cannot bear to put Nathaniel through the same: and takes her own drastic
measures to protect him, with dire consequences.
The best feature of this book and the most powerful tool in the narration
is Picoults ability to become each character as she writes form
their perspective. Before every chapter we get a snippet of monologue
from 5 year old Nathaniels thoughts, they are so childlike and
innocent you imagine they came straight from the mouth of a small child,
not from Picoult herself. These snippets and they way she gets inside
all the other characters emotions paints the most incredible picture
of love and devotion, which makes the wrenching apart of this happy
family all the more painful to read. One snippet in particular that
got to me was when Nathaniel asks who fixes heaven if it breaks. At
the beginning of the book it seems like a simple childlike inquisition,
as simple as, where does the sun go at night, or why do we breath oxygen?
(other questions he asks along the way) but by the end of the
book that one line will haunt you. Heaven is his home with his doting
mother, his adoring father, and his faithful companion Mason the dog
life before that awful day when he was violated by someone he trusted
and someone who was supposed to protect him.
Picoult has an extrodinary way of developing characters, not just in
the way they think and act but in the way they relate to each other,
its so hard to remember that its just a story, it seems
so horrifically real. The relationship between Nina and her husband
is depicted as perfect, undying and unbreakable, but its not done
in such a way that it becomes false and its not obvious to what
extent its going to be damaged. The book really does keep you
guessing, the whole way through, the twists and turns will have you
gripped and captured and you will gasp out loud at some of the events.
Even when it appears a loose end has been tied up, and you know whats
happening, the whole story does an about face and takes you by surprise
and in a totally different direction.
This is definitely a book for adults and definitely not for the faint
hearted because it will bring you to tears, shake you up and it will
leave you feeling as if Nathaniel is your son, and this has all happened
to you. If you have children this book will strike a chord with you
because you know what it is like to love unconditionally and to want
to lay down your life to protect your own, but even if you havent
got them, you will feel like you know what it is like to do so.
This novel could certainly be described as a social commentary, it has
always been a fact that the legal system has gaps and loopholes, and
there have been many stories of falsely accused parents, traumatised
children and the guilty walking free. It als0o highlights the horrors
that the victims and their families go through to get the so called
justice, that may or may not lock away a criminal for a mere three years.
Perhaps where children are concerned the law should be revised, these
loopholes need to be closed if we are going to protect children, and
anyone who reads this book will no doubt feel the same way.
© Jen Ames Jan 2007
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
Jen Ames review
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